Panel discussions held to answer health care questions

Washington’s announcement to delay implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act “Obamacare,” gives businesses more time to prepare for the impending changes ahead. “Businesses need to understand that this does not mean they are off the hook,” stated BBB President and CEO Jim Hegarty. “Whenever the subject of health care reform comes up, the Obamacare Questions and Answerscommon theme seems to be anxiety and confusion regarding what’s expected. By the time 2015 arrives, a large number of businesses may still not be prepared for all of the changes taking effect in healthcare. Businesses need a strategy to address them.”

 “After numerous discussions with our executive team at the BBB regarding the uncertainties businesses are experiencing surrounding health care reform, the Bureau decided to put together a program that may help them. As an organization supported by the business community, we want to do all we can to assist folks be more informed about how health care reform will affect them,” said Hegarty. “We’re removing ourselves from discussions of any virtues or vices regarding this new law; people can decide that for themselves. What we’re trying to do is make businesses aware of ways they can learn more about impending changes to the healthcare system.”

Panel discussions were held in Omaha and Lincoln. The featured speakers were: Angela Kiani, Vice president, Lincoln Financial Management, LLC; Russell Collins, VP, General Counsel and Board Secretary for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska; and David Lyons, CEO, CoOportunity Health, a nonprofit health insurance provider.

“These panelists were exceptional,” stated Hegarty. “The Accredited Businesses that attended gained expert insight regarding the recent changes to the Affordable Health Care Act. The panelists covered what co-ops and Exchange/Marketplaces are and how they work; how health care reform will affect the pricing of health insurance; what new taxes insurance companies will face and how this will affect businesses of all sizes.”

For small businesses, the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) is a new program that explains the process of buying health insurance for your business. The Health Insurance Marketplace Small Employer call center is available to answer your health insurance questions at 1-800-706-7893 or (TTY: 1-800-706-7915). The call center is open Monday through Friday, 10 am to 6 pm CST.

Small businesses in every state will have access to the SHOP Marketplace. In some states, you’ll use your state’s website to apply for coverage. In other cases you’ll use To find the SHOP Marketplace that serves you, visit

The BBB also issued a press release aimed at helping consumers steer clear of potential scams which may arise as fraudsters attempt to capitalize on confusion about the new law. Click here.